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J Biol Chem. 2009 Mar 13;284(11):6998-7006. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M807670200. Epub 2009 Jan 12.

A positive regulatory role for the mSin3A-HDAC complex in pluripotency through Nanog and Sox2.

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  • 1Department of Developmental and Molecular Pathways, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Large networks of proteins govern embryonic stem (ES) cell pluripotency. Recent analysis of the critical pluripotency factors Oct4 and Nanog has identified their interaction with multiple transcriptional repression complexes, including members of the mSin3A-HDAC complex, suggesting that these factors could be involved in the regulation of Oct4/Nanog function. mSin3A is critical for embryonic development, but the mechanism by which the mSin3A-HDAC complex is able to regulate ES cell pluripotency is undefined. Herein we show that the mSin3A-HDAC complex positively regulates Nanog expression in ES cells through Sox2, a critical ES cell transcription factor and regulator of Nanog. We have identified the mSin3A-HDAC complex to be present at the Nanog promoter only under proliferating conditions concurrent with histone acetylation. We find that Sox2 associates with mSin3A-HDAC complex members both in vitro and in vivo, similar to the interactions found between Oct4/Nanog and the mSin3A-HDAC complex. Knockdown of mSin3A-HDAC complex members or HDAC inhibitor treatment reduces Nanog expression, and overexpression of mSin3A-HDAC complex subunits stimulates Nanog expression. Our data demonstrate that the mSin3A-HDAC complex can positively regulate Nanog expression under proliferating conditions and that this activity is complementary to mSin3A-mediated p53-dependent silencing of Nanog during differentiation.

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